We are fortunate enough to have relatively mild weather all year long in Washington State, but with recent rising temperatures and drier conditions, our state’s peak riding season can come with some risks if riders aren’t careful. Before you put your wheels to the pavement this summer, be sure to brush up on the safety tips below to help you beat the heat.
- Cover Up. Riding in shorts and a tank top may sound like a dream in hot weather, but trust us, it isn’t. Besides the elevated risk of injury in the event of a collision, hot wind wicks moisture from an underdressed rider’s body at an accelerated pace with little (if any) evaporative cooling benefit. Plus, uncovered riders are highly susceptible to sunburn. We recommend wearing light-colored, breathable motorcycle gear that incorporates vents or mesh where appropriate. Keep in mind the clothing you wear while riding should have the ultimate purpose of protecting your skin.
- Hydrate. It’s always important to hydrate, but especially while you’re on the road. Dehydration can sneak up on you quickly while riding in hot weather, and the last thing you want is a dizzy spell while you’re cruising along at 70 mph. Stay on top of your hydration by using rest stops to take a drink break or wearing a water bladder to sip from on the go if you’ve got more mileage in mind.
- Start Early, Stop Early. If you can begin your ride early in the morning when it’s cool and call it quits by early-to-mid afternoon before the most intense heat of the day arrives, you’ll experience a much more comfortable, and safer ride. The absorption and radiation of heat from the pavement reaches its peak by late afternoon, which can add quite a bit of discomfort and an increased risk of overheating.
- Cool Down. It is possible to become overheated even if you’re taking all the possible precautions. Listen to your body. Are you getting too hot? Making frequent stops to chill out in an air-conditioned environment or finding a scenic body of water to take a dip in are great ways to keep your body cool throughout your ride.
- Seek Medical Help if Necessary. Heatstroke is a real threat on the road. If you, or a fellow rider that’s part of your group ride, has symptoms of heatstroke (throbbing headache, light-headedness, lack of sweat, muscle weakness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, etc.), seek medical help immediately. If you’re ever in doubt about the seriousness of a heat-related illness while on the road, call 911. It’s much better to be safe than sorry.
It’s A Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We want to share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety, and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families and our communities.